Saturday, August 29, 2009

I quit

For too long, I’ve been one of the sheep who convince themselves that buying lottery tickets might bring a big payout.

But recent decisions about gambling in this province have made me think differently.

I got nervous when I learned that our local transit service would soon be taking a different route into the city, forcing riders to transfer to the new Canada Line train. While I can’t disagree with taking people out of gas-burning buses, I’m distressed over the site they chose as the transfer point – Bridgeport station, the stop for a casino. If I were a person with a gambling problem, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for me to use public transit anymore.

I grew even more concerned when the B.C. Lottery Corporation raised the weekly limit for online gaming from $120 to $9,999.

I know a family whose lives have been ruined by a member whose gambling addiction went over the top. Lying, denial – she used any ruse at all to keep playing. I can only imagine the horror stories that will develop as a result of this new policy.

But yesterday’s news has made me decide that it’s finally time to quit.

The provincial government announced, despite promises to the contrary, that funding to the arts from the Gaming Commission has been cut. This habit of going back on promises seems to have become their newest mantra.

For the past few years I’ve justified buying lottery tickets with the probably-too-flip excuse that “I’m supporting the arts.” But since it turns out I can no longer fall back on that excuse, today’s the day I’m quitting. No more buying lottery tickets for this girl.

This decision feels liberating. I suspect it’s something like the feeling other quitters get –the smoker who’s tired of getting winded every time he tries to run up some stairs, or the boozer who realizes she’s offended her best friend by some regrettable drunken remark.

Because I already bought tickets on Thursday, tonight’s the last time I have a go at that pie-in-the-sky one-in-fourteen-million chance to win a life-changing sum of money.

Wanna bet that my financial situation will have drastically changed by tomorrow morning? I’ll give you better odds than the lottery corporation that it won’t have. But hey, if I do win big, I’ll have to share, as I know of a few arts groups that could really use some help.


Janet Vickers said...

Very sound thinking - I think I'll be following in your footsteps on this. I did win the lottery last night - I didn't play and my numbers didn't come up so I won $4!

hg said...

Now that's the way to look at it!

Hmmm, if I saved up the money I'm not going to spend on tickets and then donated that to an arts group, d'you suppose it might help?

Janet Vickers said...

We could even start a facebook group on this - its such a good idea.

hg said...

There's an idea, Janet. Please feel free to!

Anonymous said...

I'll bet you you can't quit gambling.

hg said...

An interesting twist to use the phrase "bet you can't" in a sentence about gambling.

Considering my habit has meant a whopping $8-$10 per week, I don't think this change is going to affect my life too profoundly. But yes, I reckon I'll be able to stick with the decision.

And just think -- that should free up about $150 for a nice Christmas donation to some worthy cause.